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Verdict: Rent (for now. I think.)

So I had another talk with the BF about potentially buying a place together. I told him I didn’t think I was financially ready to buy. I don’t have my EF set up, and I also don’t have a down payment available since my parents pretty much told me flat out they couldn’t loan me any money. Plus, I’m not sure if I’m willing to buy property with someone at the moment. I’ve always said that the first time I buy property (condo), I’m going to do it myself. And the BF really doesn’t want to live in a condo because he wants a garage to store his motorcycle and tools and stuff. Basically what it comes down to is that we want different things in a property. I’m not willing to sacrifice location, and he’s not willing to sacrifice things like a garage and a backyard.

We still have to talk about it in a little more detail, but we agreed that I’ll to try and find us an apartment or basement suite for under $800/month out on the peninsula close to my work. It will be hard to find something in that price range, but I’m not really that pressed for time since we have until November to move out. The only thing I’m worried about is not being able to find a place in the fall once all the college kids come back for school in September and take up all the apartments.

Anyway, in exchange for the long commute (45 min each way), I agreed to pay for the BF’s bus pass which is $60/month (he bikes to work right now because we live in town), as well as for internet which is $41/month ($30 for the first 6 months) … and I think that’s reasonable because the $500/month we’ve been paying in rent for the past year or so, I’m actually only paying $150 of that amount since I was in school and trying to pay off my debts.

I personally think everything should be split 50/50, and things like bus passes and parking spots, etc … those should be paid by the person who’s going to use them. However, compromise is the name of the game. The BF does not want to live out on the peninsula because it really is quite a commute into downtown, and it’s away from all of our friends and family, and basically any sort of entertainment … but with my job being out there, I really REALLY don’t want to rent a place in town … so an extra $100/month for the convenient location is worth it in my opinion.

But then again, it’ll be really inconvenient living all the way out there and having to come into town all the time for hockey or soccer, or basically whenever we want to do anything. The BF has a truck that I pay 25% of the gas for right now … we could use that to go into town, but it’s not exactly the most fuel efficient thing on the road. So maybe living in town is the answer … and maybe I buy a car or a faster scooter or something for the commute. But then I get stuck with that stupid long commute again, and I’ve already been doing it for 8 months. And I really don’t want to buy a car or another scooter.

Or maybe we meet in the middle and find an apartment where we’d both have the same distance to commute to work. That way we’d be a little closer to town. I don’t know.

What do you think?

To buy or to rent?

The BF and I had a talk last night about what we should do about our living situation. Currently, we are renting a basement suite owned by my parents for the ridiculously low price of $500/month (including utilities). We have to be out of the suite by November, since it was just a temporary arrangement while I found permanent employment.

My commute to my new job will be about 1 hour each way, because I’m on my scooter. There are also no buses that run out that way, so it’s out of the question to commute with public transportation. I really want to move out closer to work, so I suggested we try to rent a place out that way. Rental apartments or suites are going for $800-$1500/month out in that area. The BF doesn’t really want to rent and thinks we should buy a place instead. We each make the same amount of money, so combined we have an annual income of $110,000. I have no doubt we could afford something easily, and it’d be a great investment, but I’m a little uncertain.

I’ve talked about it before, and buying property is a huge commitment, and one I don’t really feel comfortable doing right now because I don’t have the proper down payment set aside. But, when we discussed it, we talked about how we could put in the contract that if we were to ever break up, we would sell the property and split the profits 50/50 (or have the option to buy the other person out). I could probably borrow money from my parents to match the amount he’d put down for the house, and then pay them back in monthly installments.

It’s definitely something to think about. A co-worker said that there’s a gorgeous townhouse for sale in her complex for only $379,000. We looked it up on MLS, and it has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath, a huge yard, and a garage. There’s beautiful hardwood floors, french doors, gas fireplace, skylights, a private patio … and a new roof put on last year. The strata fees are somewhere between $150-$175/month, and to find a townhouse for less than $400k is a pretty good bargain. But I also think it’s a great price because it’s on a peninsula about 45 min. away from downtown, and you have to take into consideration the time it’ll take to commute into the price of the property.

My co-worker also said it’s been on the market for a while and the sellers are desperate because the husband is in the military and is getting stationed somewhere else very soon. So I’m sure the price is going to be flexible. Ideally, we’d want to spend $350,000 max. And if we could get together $35k for a 10% down payment, our mortgage payments would be affordable with our salaries. We could probably even put 5% down and still be okay. I don’t have any debt, and the only debt the BF has is his truck payments which are $420/month. Both of us also have pretty good credit scores.

The property is also in a great location because I’d be 5 minutes away from work, and there’s a bus stop right outside the complex that would go directly downtown to the BF’s work. It would be a 45 min. commute for him by bus into downtown, so it would be him sacrificing for my comfort.

Anyway, we’re going to probably go see my co-worker’s unit on Sunday, since they’re all exactly the same. I mostly want to get a feel for what we can buy with our money, and whether taking the plunge and buying now at this point in my life is a smarter decision than renting for a year or two.

Open houses

Yesterday I left the office a few minutes early to check out two open houses I saw signs for on my ride out to work. I know it’s premature to even think about buying anything, but it’s nice to get a feel for what an open house is like, and how much my money will buy me.

The first house was a cute townhouse for $310,000. It was built in 2005, has 2 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bath, a garage, and a really nice kitchen. Granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. It was the townhouse closest to the street though, but it had a cute enclosed backyard to make up for it. I really liked it, but clearly it’s out of my price range for the time being.

The second house was just across the street, and it was a condo for $217,000. This is in my price range. It was built in 2004 (or 2005, I forget), has 1 bedroom, 1 bath, and an “office nook” which is attached to the main living area. A nice kitchen, too. The place was okay, but not spectacular. In my opinion, it’s overpriced for only 700 sq. ft., but it’s in a nice area. The strata fees were almost $250/month.

It’s kinda depressing that $220,000 will only buy a tiny condo in this city. If I bought with my BF, we would definitely have more money to work with (combined, we make over $110k annually), but I really want to buy by myself, and build up my own equity. Plus, if we ever broke up, neither of us could afford to pay for the mortgage of a more expensive property. I guess big decisions and changes lay ahead of me in the next year or so!

I’m really wanting to buy in a year, but I’m also thinking about renting in order to save up more money. If I rent for a year or so, I would be able to save up at least $1,000 a month if I find a job that pays me what I’m making now. It would be great to be able to put down the entire 25% down payment required in order not to pay that stupid mortgage insurance, but I doubt I could save up that much, that fast. But I guess it depends on what the market is like, my job situation, and other variables.

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